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Literature, democracy and transitional justice

The colloquium, ‘Literature, democracy and transitional justice’, held in Oxford 18-20 March 2018, is part of the second phase (2017-2020) in the activities of the international research network, ‘GDRI Literature and Democracy (19th-21st centuries): Theoretical, Historical and Comparative Approaches’. It brought together participants from over a dozen countries to address specific situations of transitional justice across the globe, including Spain, Portugal, Argentina, Columbia, Tunisia, South Africa, Rwanda, Taiwan, Algeria and former Yugoslavia. The event opens dialogue between scholars working on authoritarian systems and democratic transitions in the fields of literary studies, history, philosophy and law. The colloquium features the Syrian writer Zakaria Tamer. Sponsored by St John’s College; GDRI Literature and Democracy (19th-21st centuries); Maison Française Oxford; DEMOCRACY (Casa de Velázquez, Madrid) and Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation.
Conveners: Mohamed-Salah Omri (St John’s College, Oxford); Philippe Roussin (HESS, Paris); Agnès Delage (Aix-Marseille)

# Episode Title Description People Date
1 Literacy and Democracy: Transitional Justice in South Africa The paper explores the work of several intellectuals reflecting on South Africa’s transition to democracy, considering how the question of literacy precedes any discussion about literature and democracy. Carrol Clarkson 03 Sep 2018
2 Tolérance et justice dans le monde arabe, hier et aujourd’hui The paper discusses the concept of tolerance in Arabic philosophy, literature and religion, foregrounding this value as an important objective of transitional justice in the Arab world. Mohsen ElKhouni 03 Sep 2018
3 Une démocratie sans justice transitionnelle: refoulement, silence et oubli dans le pacte de dénégation de l’Espagne de la transition This paper is a study of transitional justice in Spain after the Francoist dictatorship, a process of reconciliation based on the denial of the regime’s genocidal violence. Jesús Izquierdo Martín 03 Sep 2018
4 Alternative Account, Mourning Family and Transformation into Life: Three Contemporary Artworks related to the Event of 28 February 1947 in Taiwan The paper discusses three contemporary Taiwanese artworks related to the tragic events of 28 February in Taiwan, presenting their emphasis on victims as crucial in understanding the process of transitional justice. Lin Chi-Ming 03 Sep 2018
5 The Irreverence of Bones: Reclaiming Trashed Lives in the Aftermath of Violence in Adios Ayacucho (1984) and Insensatez (2004) By analysing two Latin American fictional narratives, this paper explores the metaphors of humanity as waste and memory as cleansing in the context of transitional justice. Daniel O Mosquera 03 Sep 2018
6 Victims’ Narratives in the Colombian Peace Process This paper analyses how victims’ voices were heard during the peace negotiations and in the implementation of the 2016 peace accord between the FARC guerrilla and the Colombian government. Annelen Micus 03 Sep 2018
7 Literature and Transitional Justice After the Rwandan Genocide: Veronique Tadjo’s The Shadow of Imama This paper discusses the problems of literary memorialization and quest for truth in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide as addressed by Veronique Tadjo’s The Shadow of Imana. Brendon Nicholls 03 Sep 2018
8 Voices of Suffering: The Incorporation of Victim Testimony in Judgements of the ICTY This paper examines the use of victim testimony by the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, discussing the role of ‘humanitarian narratives’ in our understanding of the wars of Yugoslav succession. Christian Axboe Nielsen 03 Sep 2018
9 Dissident Writing, Law and Transitional Justice in Tunisia The paper explores selected testimonies and memoirs by survivors of state repression in Tunisia, in order to discuss whether their role is to be considered reformist or revolutionary after the liberation of narrative in 2011. Mohamed-Salah Omri 03 Sep 2018
10 Procès, fiction, document: La reconstruction de la littérature en Europe après 1945 This paper explores the relationship between testimony and fiction in the context of transitional justice, by comparing three 1950 European literary works which use the form of interrogation, investigation, and trial. Philippe Roussin 03 Sep 2018